I love it when people tell me that I better behave. No matter what I do, whether good or bad, I’m behaving, so their request is fulfilled. Often we use phrases like this and the exact meaning of what we want to communicate is not stated. So it is with the command of the title of this THOUGHT. People use it correctly to encourage believers to allow God to be sovereign in the affairs of their life. But it can also be misconstrued to mean that when a believer has a promise from God, they should be completely passive in seeking its fulfillment. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The Apostle Paul was given a specific promise from God. He was assured that he would testify of his faith in Jesus Christ in the city of Rome (Acts 23:11). The promise was given when Paul was being held by Roman officials in Jerusalem and then in Caesarea. The Governor, Felix, would have granted Paul freedom if he paid for his release, but Paul, knowing that he would eventually make it to Rome, knew that such dishonesty was unnecessary. Unfortunately, this meant that he would remain a prisoner for the next two years (Acts 24:27). It would have been very easy for Paul to have given up on the promise of God but GENUINE FAITH NEVER QUITS in waiting for the promise of God to be fulfilled. The reason is that the promise of God is just a valid tomorrow as it is today. Therefore it is just a valid two years from today as it is today. God never reneges on His promises.
While it may be that Paul rightly “let go and let God” for those two years, what happened next is anything but that. A New governor, Festus, replaced Felix and once again Paul case would be tried. The Jews could not produce any evidence of unlawful acts by Paul in the first trial and so there would be nothing new that they could use to try him again. The trial would be futile and Paul knew it. But GENUINE FAITH ALWAYS SEIZES ANY OPPORTUNITY that will fulfill the promise of God. Paul appealed to Caesar’s judgment. In doing so, he would of necessity be taken to, you guessed it, Rome.
Before Paul could be shipped off, King Agrippa came to visit Festus and Paul would once again be called into question for his behavior in Jerusalem. Paul could have easily refused the opportunity to speak before Agrippa, but instead, he gladly gave testimony. And his testimony was not just a sketchy outline of what had happened, but a detailed account of how he came to faith in Jesus Christ and how he had suffered in ministry for Christ’s sake. The reason for Paul’s willingness to testify is that GENUINE FAITH REALIZES THAT TOMORROW’S PROMISE CANNOT BE FULFILLED UNTIL TODAY’S WORK IS ACCOMPLISHED. In the sovereignty of God, could it be that Paul was “detained” in Caesarea for two years until Festus and Agrippa could come on the scene of history and hear Paul’s testimony? I think so.
Agrippa was somewhat appreciative of Paul’s testimony, even teetering on becoming a Christian. But Festus called Paul insane. After all, who in their right mind would believe that a person who had died could be resurrected? Who in their right mind would believe such a story to such an extent that they would allow themselves to be treated the way Paul had been treated? The answer: a person who believed the Word of God to be true. GENUINE FAITH IS NOT DIMINISHED BY THE ACCUSATIONS OF UNBELIEVERS. Rather than becoming like Festus, Paul wished that they would all become like him.
During the time of those two years, Paul never let go of his faith. Rather, he held on even more tightly as time passed. The result? Agrippa and Festus agreed to send Paul to Rome. God’s promises may not always be fulfilled today but they will always be fulfilled. Hold on, don’t let go!